The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a new order which went into effect on Tuesday that is described as a “temporary halt in residential evictions in communities with substantial or high levels of community transmission of COVID-19 to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.”
The new order responds to concerns about the Delta variant of COVID-19, which the CDC said has unexpectedly altered the trajectory of the pandemic. Under the new order, anyone with a legal right to remove a resident from their property will be unable to evict them as long as the surrounding community is “experiencing substantial or high levels of community transmission of SARS-CoV-2.”
The purpose of the policy and order is to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, especially the delta variant, in crowded areas and across the country. The order also seeks to support “response efforts to COVID-19 at the federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal levels.” Excessive mass evictions could significantly worsen the transmission within a community, the CDC explained.
The delta variant is becoming increasingly prominent in the United States, and it was estimated to account for 82% of cases as of July 2021. The CDC said that the Delta variant transmits more easily than other strains of COVID-19 and that populations who are more likely to be evicted are at a higher risk of getting the virus.
A study cited in the order showed that lifting eviction regulations during the pandemic led to 30% increased risk of contracting COVID-19 for those who were evicted and others in their new living situation. Further, those who are at a high risk of eviction may also be at a high risk of being unvaccinated due to social and structural factors.
Individuals who violate the order will be fined up to $100,000 or will have to serve one year in jail, or both. If the violation results in a death, the penalties are even more severe. The order went into effect on August 3rd, 2021, and will end on October 3rd, 2021, unless circumstances change.